Three categories of digital products you can begin selling quickly

digital products monetization Feb 06, 2024

On Mondays, I currently teach a course at Cairn University called “Professional Practices.”  The purpose of the course is to enable students who are studying various creative disciplines to learn how to turn their art into a profitable business.

The classroom isn’t large, so it's easy for me to hear conversations between the students even when I’m honestly not trying to.  A couple weeks ago, I overheard one particular student say something that I think a lot of creative people may have uttered at one point or another.  She said, “I don’t think I’m ever going to make any money from my art.”

While I don’t want her to continue to believe that, I thought it was helpful for her to admit that out loud, at least at this stage of the semester.  I’m sure she isn’t the only person who feels that way, she just had the courage to acknowledge what she was really thinking.  And if those of us who are new to creating various forms of online content were really honest with ourselves, we might feel the same way.  

Have you ever said out loud (or just in your mind), “I’m never going to earn an income from my creative content.”?  Maybe you have, but I’m going to do my best to convince you that you don’t have to feel that way forever.

I still remember when I first attempted to earn an online income.  It was in the early days of the internet, and I discovered that PayPal would pay me $5 every time I referred their services to other people.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make a little extra cash through those referrals, so I encouraged others to sign up for a PayPal account, but eventually, my well of interested contacts ran dry.

Right around that same time, I also attempted to sell digital access to online diet plans, particularly one that had worked well for me in the late 1990’s.  I had moderate success doing that, and it certainly taught me a few lessons about business and marketing, but I didn’t earn enough to stay motivated to keep attempting to make additional sales, so I scrapped that idea.

Fast forward to today where I have a series of digital assets that enable me to earn an online income consistently and somewhat automatically.  My initial goal when I really set my mind toward earning an income this way was to earn an average of $250/day.  Once that milestone was reached, I started experiencing days that exceeded $500, $1,000, and sometimes even more than that.

If you told me that years ago, I would have been grateful, but I also would have wanted to know as much as possible about how to make that my reality.

There’s a lot I can say about this subject, but let me suggest three ideas that might help you get started if this is a new concept for you.  These are some of the areas I think I would choose to focus on if I was just getting started.  (And stick around because I’m going to include a few bonus ideas before the end).

The first kind of digital product I would focus on if I was just getting started would be services.  These are services that can specifically be delivered online.  I’m talking about things like coaching, editing, graphic design, voiceover, etc.  This is almost the best place to start, and for many people this continues to be their most profitable category of digitally delivered content.

Of the service options I just mentioned, coaching and voiceover work tend to be the most consistently profitable categories for me.  I typically charge between $200-$300/hour for coaching, and I charge $30/minute for edited voiceover recordings.  Since I have been offering both of these services for years, I have a healthy pipeline of regular clients.  Be patient, but persistent if you’re still in the process of setting up your pipeline for the first time.

The second kind of digital product I would focus on are online courses.  Online education continues to grow in appeal.  People are using it more and more, and for some learners, it’s their preferred method of gaining knowledge.

Please understand that when I’m talking about courses, I’m not indicating that your course content needs to be lengthy.  In fact, one of the most popular categories of courses are mini-courses that sell for $50 or less.  For a mini-course, I’m talking about less than two hours of content, and in some cases, less than an hour.  Carve it up into 5-8 small lessons, focus on solving a specific problem that your ideal audience tends to reach out to you for help with, and you might be well on your way to developing a strong performing digital asset.

The third category of digital products that you might want to consider are subscriptions.  Subscriptions take many forms, and in some cases they may not be a product at all but more of a means of access to you as an expert in your field.

There are all kinds of areas where you might be able to come up with a subscription idea.  I have seen subscriptions for educational resources, group coaching, music lessons, and royalty free digital imagery.  If there is a kind of content you enjoy creating or if you like mentoring others, I’m certain you can come up with a subscription idea that meets the needs of the people you’re best equipped to serve.

Those are three of my favorite categories of digital products that you can begin selling quickly, regardless of your field of study or the message expressed by your platform.  But let me give you a few additional ideas in case your wheels are turning and you’re looking for something else to add to your list of digital assets.

Right now, there are thousands of people earning an online income from selling things like; templates, apps, lesson plans, study guides, educational audio, and ebooks.  These are all good options to consider, particularly if you already have my top three categories covered.

I know it may seem challenging to earn an income from your platform if you’re in the early stages of development, but I can testify (as can many of the members of the Platform Launchers Members’ Club) that if given enough time, these ideas can work for you too.  Just stay focused on solving the problems people are actually looking to you for help with solving.

And if there is any way I can be a help to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  The easiest way to reach me is by sending an email to [email protected].  I’d love to hear from you.

© John Stange, 2024

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